5 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Sail Date: July 25, 2011 Ship: Carnival Inspiration Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (young children) Reviewed: 6 years ago
My wife and I had sailed on Royal Caribbean and Holland American previously, but this time we chose Carnival because we wanted to give our grandson/ward a taste of a cruise and we thought Carnival would be more geared for kids. Our grandson (aged 10) had a great time because he had the freedom to roam independently; something he can't always do at home. However, this particular ship of the Carnival Line did not measure up to the other two cruise ships. On the positive side the ship personnel were, as always, courteous and friendly to a fault. They lived up to expectations for a Caribbean cruise. We felt that the ones who did not always live up to that super-high standard were some of the staff in charge of the kids, ironic as that may sound. The other irony was that everyone who spoke over the ship's intercom--from the captain to the entertainment director to the maitre d' to the recorded voice designating floors on the elevator had such a heavy accent they were hard to understand. We wondered if we were sailing on a foreign ship.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food was good. Not "the best", but good. The (informal) Lido Restaurant staff was cheerful and attentive, but the room itself was dark and gloomy and overcrowded. One always had to be careful not to bump or get bumped by someone passing by. The decor of the room itself, with its tubes running up the pillars and over the ceiling, made me feel like I was in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History special exhibit of life under the earth, where I was "shrunk" and walking under plants with roots above my head and underground life teeming all around me. Not a great decor for eating meals.
3 out of 5
We are not drinkers, gamblers, shoppers, sun worshippers, or ones to dress up and put on the dog and hobnob with captains and bigshots, so that knocked out 90% of ship activities for us. We got tired of having photographers in our faces everywhere we turned. The entertainment in the big theater was good, but it seemed that more often than we liked, we would have to pay an extra fee for any kind of additional entertainment or service. Even to get online to get advance boarding passes for our flight home would cost me a fee. The ship had a "library", but every time I went to check it out, there was a "private party" going on there. The hours were very limited.
3 out of 5
Our grandson just went the first full day of the cruise. He was okay with the program but not overly enthusiastic about it. Safety did not become an issue. We did not get a feeling of great cooperation, however.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
No complaints here. Our stateroom attendant was always cheerful and ready to do anything for us. Dining room staff were Johnny on the spot. Regarding the head maitre d', when we asked about changing our dining room from the Mardi Gras Room (in the middle of the ship and inconvenient to get to) to the Carnivale Dining Room directly above our stateroom, he went right to his computer and made the change, even changing our dining time from late (8:15) to the earlier time (6:00), better for us. The only problem we had was getting someone to get us to the chief maitre d'. When someone finally gave us the right information on where to find him, he was right there and ready to help.
1 out of 5
The ship was kept clean, but the layout of the ship was subpar. On the dining room deck you couldn't get access from front to back without going up or down a deck, then back to the original deck you were trying to access. The deck designations on the elevators were very confusing, the buttons inside the elevators were dimly lit and hard to read. Some elevators went to all decks; some went to only a few. Up to the last day people complained about not knowing how to get around. Having the miniature golf at the front of the top deck of the ship was ludicrous. The high wind created by the moving ship pushed the ball all over so that you couldn't hold it still long enough to putt the ball, and if you did, the ball was pushed by the wind anywhere but where you wanted it to go.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The only beef we had here was that we were assigned to a handicapped room. The problem with that was that the door was extra wide and opened and closed automatically. That meant that whenever we went out, (the door looked straight down the hallway where everyone could see into our room), for security and privacy sake we had to wait what seemed to be a long time for the door to close before we left. And if we accidentally bumped the button to open the door, we had to go through the cycle all over again. Probably this was the last room available for our specific needs (3 to a room), so this could not be helped.
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